solo exhibition 22/05-13/06
Marcel van Etten's art practice is mostly painting-based. His works begin with the wandering of the brush on the canvas. The lines and colors that have been produced continue to guide him to create an image which is a result of his subconscious, physical movement, and the echo of the canvas. This is very similar to the process of weaving in which creation and discovery alternate. Each stroke creates a clue, which will naturally inspire the next stroke.
Marcel van Etten was born in Laren, the suburbs of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He grew up in an environment where nature and humanities are extremely harmonious, and his perceptual instincts and rich reading have allowed him to form his own worldview of seeking truth from falsehoods.
When he was a teenager, Marcel took an interest in Comics. Among his readings, the work Jermiah of Belgian cartoonist Hermann Huppen has always been his favorite. In the book, Hermann portrays a cyberpunk scene where it has become a routine for advanced technology and worn-out machines coexist.
This allowed the imagination of the future take root in Marcel’s heart. In the initial creation, he started from a simple stroke and gradually developed the shape into many both meticulous and naive mechanical images.
The depiction of mechanical modeling involves many calculations and constraints of rules. With the deepening of his practice, Marcel began to explore more organic forms. He has got closer and closer to the natural elements he loved most.
"I love everything that is simple and true" , he said.
Although all things in nature are infinitely transfigured, they are the closest to his reality. For example, there are many flowers, fruits and plants involved in Marcel's recent works. These natural forms give him the most authentic image, and the organic shape also gives him enough creative freedom. These forms of natural flow and growth are the questions raised by Marcel and the answer he gave.
Marcel's works usually go through a period of accumulation and brewing, but the creation process of each work is done in one go. "Usually when creating a work, when I find the harmony between my consciousness, the brush in my hand, and the canvas, I have to continue painting. At that time, what I feel is something like absolute truth. I have to paint, there is no other way.”
He has always emphasized that his works are actually abstract works. Whether or not they are attached to a daily visible form, they are the result of an interaction between consciousness, body and environment. Pollock, an artist that Marcel is inspired by, always dripped oil paint on the canvas through body movement and conscious adjustment. His works are the traces left by the artist's thinking and body movement on the canvas.
Contemporary society seems to be always noisy and restless. Facing the surging sounds and information, quietly and persistently pursuing the inner consciousness and letting it grow into an image on the canvas is the artistic practice that Marcel has always insisted on. His favorite quote comes from the novel Mrs Dalloway written by Virginina Woolf: “Mrs Dalloway is always giving parties to cover the silence”, which is how this exhibition got the title.
Text: Liyun Wang
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